Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Writing ???

 Are you still a writer when you aren't writing?

I see that question often in the writing groups where I hang out online, and I have to tell you, I am.

I may not be able to answer for everyone, but for me, eve when I'm not writing, I am. I'm listening, seeing, thinking, and stories are simmering in the subconscious mind.  I'm a writer because everything translates itself into potential stories, everything connects until the universe is only one story and all those dots are only awaiting the lines to stretch between them and show everyone the big picture that was already there.

I'm a writer because I believe stories can generate what our world needs most, the empathy to know that under all the surface skin we see everyday, lies a strong skeleton we are all connected through, a river of red blood and hearts that beat separately yet in a tune so glorious we can't hear it and fail to love.

Monday, November 5, 2018

How I've Lost the last Three NaNoWriMo's (But I'm not quitting)

Tonight Priscilla June Slack Miller passed away in Berryville, Virginia. She was a woman who lived life passionately and will leave behind a world better for having had her in it. I love you Mom. Rest In Peace. Her funeral will be in Cody as she joins her parents and Husband out in Riverside Cemetery. I will be going back to the service. Thank you for being my sounding board 

I’m trying to write a novel in November for NaNoWriMo, and I’ve done it before four times, but this one I’ve tried since 2013 and it keeps getting blasted by outside forces. My story and my Novembers are cursed, but the story is good and deserves a chance. November 8, 2016 my mother in law died and I ended up driving 3,000 miles round trip for her funeral. End of November 2017 my Father-in-Law got sick and died Dec. 4 and my family and I took Amtrak back for his Funeral and a Family Christmas. So yesterday I dove into the story again, refreshing some research and writing 2,200 words. And my brother sent me the message that my Mom is comatose in hospice in Virginia. I’m staying home on November 16 when my husband leaves for two weeks in Europe. I know traveling has been really contributing to my muscle and joint deterioration that hasn’t quite gotten a diagnosis yet but the rheumatologist is at least eliminating some options. Not Lupus, probably not RA but maybe, IBM disease, a type of muscular dystrophy. But when my brother says, can you come to mom’s funeral in Wyoming, I just can’t explain that another 3,000 mile round trip will mean more stiffness and pain and lost abilities. He has been mom’s caretaker, and out brother with Down’s syndromes caretaker for five years now and fully deserves a hero award.

 It’s as good of a family relationship as things can be with three thousand miles between us. I love them all a bunch. My family all lived in Wyoming since my great grandparents moved there in the 1890's but my husband and I moved to Northern CA thirty years ago, my brother moved to Virginia about ten years ago, and when my Mom started developing Alzheimer’s in 2012 he moved her and our brother with Down’s syndrome out there. I’ve been there to visit but he has done all the heavy lifting, so to speak. Now he wants a funeral and to take her back to Wyoming. I’m glad to try to do things his way as much as I physically can, because he really has been our hero through this all.

So I am going to go to Wyoming for the funeral, and if I survive that, I'll do my mont of wild writing starting whenever I can. and this is what I posted about it on facebook when I thought that I'd be writing now

For five years I have researched and written on and off on a Novel that ties together the story of two boys, each living in the months leading up to a volcanic eruption but 1901 years apart. I've researched and researched some more, plotted out each boys story, along with their younger brothers and friends. What I have written is the beginning and end with a few scenes in the middle, but each time I try to write more, I get distracted. It's harder to write historical fiction than fantasy for me. So many little details to question, and in five years, the Pompeii history keeps changing as archaeologists discover new things and alter theories. A question of what I need now makes me realize I just need to flesh out the boys daily lives, similarities and differences, but show them clear enough that the readers care about how they end up since from the beginning the reader will know that bot Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Vesuvius erupted, eve though only one boy in my book knows and only about Mt. V.
So here is a thing you might be able to help with, if you lived through the 79-80 school year, and remember things 15 (main Character) or 10 (Younger brother) year old boys would have been into, and not sex or drugs because the readers I'm aiming at are 5th grade on up a bit, tell me ideas, especially in the Portland, Oregon area. 

Monday, July 30, 2018

Me or Books?

Both Please!

 "Grandma, what do you love the most, Me or books?"

  Well the answer was easy, but the fact that she knows books are one of the major contenders for my heart is no surprise.

"I love you most of all. I love sharing books with you because the stories matter, but we could share stories every day and never open a book or turn on a screen."

"We Could?"
 Of course we could.  We do.  When you tell me about how you are going to work every job when you grow up, and be a pirate and then an astronaut and then teach and then work at Mcdonalds"s those are stories we enjoy right now, long before they come true. And when I tell you about when I was little, or about your Dad as a baby, those are still stories that help you connect to your place in our family.

"I love being in our family."

Me too Sugar girl, more than ever now.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Look up and be dazzled

The fires in California and Oregon have been hungry, violent beasts and I don’t want to see another home, be it human dwelling or wild forest, lost.

I hear the calls demanding sanity and a ban on all fireworks and my heart breaks.

I love fireworks.

The United States of America isn’t very “United” at all right now and that breaks my heart too.  I looks at people I’ve always known as loving, generous, wonderful human beings and I see them ready to accept the most inhuman things because ??? I’m not sure why, but it keeps me from being able to see them the same way again. And again my heart breaks. It’s like I can suddenly understand the brother against brother beliefs that made the civil war possible. And I don’t like knowing that lurks under our surface still.

Then I see the people explaining that the loud fireworks scare their animals, and I know it’s true. I hear the survivors of war zones explaining about their stress and panic and PTSD and I can only imagine how hard that is. I’ve never had to prove I could survive something like that.

I feel for them, and yet I love fireworks. Let me tell you why.

When I was a child, visiting relatives back in Illinois and Pennsylvania, I loved their big front porches with gliders, rockers, swings or davenports.  I loved the neighbors walking by and on seeing someone sitting out there, escaping the swelter of un-air-conditioned homes, stepping up and taking their own seat, to sip lemonade or iced tea and sit a spell. Chatting over big news and random thoughts was a given.

Living in my hometown, there were few porches, but the tradition of “yard-saling” created a similar experience. The random person wandering through, conversations taking a friendly turn about the town as connections were explored, “oh, right, I went to school there too.” As a cook book with both families recipes turns up in a dusty stack.  And, “I remember playing with one of these.” As an old toy was bartered over.

Fireworks displays are like that, on a much larger scale. Political, racial, religious differences are forgotten, and faces turn skyward in anticipation as the sunset grows dim.  Wandering around through throngs of locals and tourists alike, dipping in and out of pools of conversation and music ranging from Johnny Cash to Kendrick Lamar, one follows the connections and topics of surprising friendliness that stops and becomes breathless “ooh and Ah” as the sky ignites. Having never lived through a battle zone, most of us may owe our freedom to soldiers, but find only memories and hopes of friends and family stretching back and forth through generations.

In the heat of the 4th we leave our homes for parades and bbqs and fireworks and share traditions with strangers who share the same traditions from “Sea to Shining Sea” in a way we don’t for the winter holidays when we blanket our families indoors and shut out the cold.

I am sorry, for the frightened pets and people, and I understand the need to be carefully prepared for fire risks, but I hope the right to celebrate together, with big, awe inspiring, shut my mouth wide open and make me forget my cell phone delight, shall never vanish from this land that I love, warts and all.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

summer goals

People can debate back and forth forever  on writer’s block and if it is real, or how to cure it. One group of writers insists that if writing is approached like a job, and one writes every day, even if what they produce is garbage, that that “Shitty first draft” is infinitely better than having produced nothing. At least a bad draft can be improved on and polished. But even polished and fossilized shit is still just shit at the core is the counter argument.

I’m not sure it matters when after months of not writing, I have nothing but a lot of Facebook posts, and if I could have pushed through and written three books in that time is no longer relevant. I didn’t.
What might matter is the future. A school year is ending and the greater freedom of summer beckons with possibility. This year my husband is retiring as a music teacher after 29 years, and transferring to a year round, General ed. teacher at a huge penitentiary. So no family summer vacation plans. If I do as I hope to, I will discover if I am capable still of the drive needed to finish a novel. Yes, I’ve done it four times before, but this one is its own beast. Im not sure yet that I can tame it into submission while spending time digging out twenty years of clutter from the unused rooms of my house to accommodate play space for grandkids, and also playing with those grand grandkids. 

I just hope that when August comes, and a new granddaughter along with it, that I have figured out the many aches and pains of my rheumatoid arthritis and found a happy medium where I can be productive as a writer, and involved as a grandmother. 


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Being an Iron Writer

B Street Pier, Crescent City, CA
 Recently, I have been sick and sad and not writing, but a writer I met at the South Coast Writer's Conference a couple years ago, has started something he calls the Iron Writer's Challenge on facebook.  It seems like it will work for me. The idea is that we are each responsible for setting our own goals in four different areas, and then asking for what we need to help us get to where we want to be.  Its a long path, but we divide where we are going.
 We are supposed to encourage each other in these four areas;
1. Writing,
2. Health,
3. Relationships
4. Finances
 I still most want to finish my Pompeii/Portland blended time tale so that is being broken down into steps, but I also need to find out why I'm aging prematurely and losing the ability to do some pretty basic movements. My family and friends and co-worker area is my strength, so I'm not changing that up, just celebrating. Financially, ugh!!!

So anyway, less facebook time, more talking to Dr.s and more research.  If you are interested in joining us, and can't find the closed group on facebook, let me know. Dixie Dawn Miller Goode

Thursday, January 4, 2018

A Goode Man Remembered

 So instead of going to take the great granddaughter to spend Christmas with her Great Grandpa Harvey, we ended up traveling back for a family reunion/funeral/Christmas.  It was one of the most perfectly, joy filled Celebrations of a wonderful life that I have ever attended. To Life, To Harvey Goode, to doing it even half as well as he did.
the five remaining siblings

the following is the obituary my Sister-in-law wrote

originally published in Newcastle Wyoming's Newsletter Journal

Harvey D. Goode, 88, of Newcastle, died Monday December 4, 2017 at Rapid City Regional Hospital.
He was born February 8, 1929 in Olney, Texas to Harvey C. and Effie (Powers) Goode Carter.  He grew up in Texas City, Texas on the Gulf of Mexico helping his father shrimp.  After his father’s death the family moved to Hitchcock, Texas where he graduated from high school.  Harvey was co-captain of the football team.  He worked as a shrimper and mechanic during that time.  He served in the Army during the Korean Conflict, stationed in Germany.
Harvey D.  “left nothing in Texas” and headed to the oil fields of Wyoming.  He met Mimi Ward, the cutest soda jerk at the Newcastle Drug and the rest is history.  They married in June of 1950.  The couple raised six children and had been married for 66 years at the time of Mimi’s death.
Mr. Goode continued working in the patch for many years and drilled in many places.  Harvey and Mimi were fond of telling stories of packing up the babies, tying the crib to the top of the car, and going to the next hole.  They settled in Newcastle with Harvey working at Ward’s Lumber Company, Updike Brothers, and other companies.   He owned and operated The Goode Standard Station on Main St. for several years.  He retired from Western Productions.
Harvey and Mimi were active in Jaycees with Harvey serving as state president.  They were members of bridge club and the Weston County Democrats.  Harvey liked to fish and took his children on many trips to various creeks in the Black Hills.  He enjoyed bowling in leagues, but his passion was cards.  He loved most card games especially Texas Hold Em.  He was a regular participant in Tuesday Prayer Meetings and played at the Old Style #10 until the very end.
Survivors include two daughters, Laura Goode of Lake Powell, Utah and Wendy Goode (John Rindler) of Laramie, Wyo.; three sons, Harvey H. (Francie) of Newcastle, Matthew (Andrea Tuijl) of Tucson, Ariz. and Gregory (Dixie) of Crescent City, Calif.; five grandchildren, Connor and Colton Rindler of Laramie, Austin and Emerson Goode of Crescent City, and Remi Goode-Tuijl of Tucson.  Also four great-grandchildren.  Harvey is preceded in death by his loving wife Mimi; his parents, and two sisters JoAnn Lee and Mary Grisham.  Also preceding Harvey in death is his daughter April Goode (Vince Gillette) and a grandson Cody Raben.
There will be an interment of the cremains at Greenwood Cemetery at 1:00 p.m. on December 21, 2017.  The family requests friends to gather for cake and coffee immediately afterwards at the Weston County Senior Center in the Michaels room.

so close to meeting her great grandpa

I love you, Harvey